Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Officials in CAR allow limited international flights. Restrictive measures and border restrictions ongoing as of July 16, due to COVID-19.

  • Alert Begins: 16 Jul 2020 01:08 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 23 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Commercial flight and business disruptions

Authorities in the Central African Republic (CAR) announced July 10 that they would allow a limited resumption of international flights into and from Bangui-M'poko International Airport (BGF). International airlines may operate one flight per week. Travelers will be subject to stringent health measures, including maintaining social distancing, temperature checks, and disinfectant procedures, and will be required to sign an affidavit attesting to their health. Cargo and humanitarian flights are ongoing, as are occasional repatriation flights. Authorities have also stated that normal public transportation can resume, subject to health measures and social distancing. These measures are in force to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Land border crossings with the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Sudan, and South Sudan remain closed to commercial travel. Enhanced screening measures are in place at all other ports of entry. Persons entering CAR from locations with local transmission of COVID-19 are required to self-isolate for 14 days. Social distancing measures, including the mandatory use of facemasks in public, and non-contact greetings for social interactions are being enforced in Bangui. Authorities are also enforcing limitations on the size of public gatherings.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
Numerous countries have adopted several restrictions to halt the spread of COVID-19. Countries which neighbor CAR have also closed borders and restricted flights to halt the spread of the disease in recent days. The viral respiratory disease is caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. The WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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